During the summer, when the days and nights stretch into infinity before August rears her schoolhouse maw, there is a LOT to do. In the library world, we have Summer Reading. You may wonder why we get so excited about it, but it’s more than just fun programming that’s free and open to the community: it’s good for your brain.
Studies show that lack of access to reading materials over the summer months when children are not in school can have a serious, detrimental effect on learning retention. Have you ever heard the phrase “if you don’t use it, you lose it?” Well, it’s true. For learning in particular it’s called the Summer Slide and it’s NOT the fun kind. The bad news is that this slide’s effects can be cumulative, making it harder and harder to “catch up” over the years.
Beating the Summer Reading Slump
Reading just 15-20 minutes a day can make a huge difference. Study after study shows that reading, and reading consistently, is beneficial. A child doesn’t have to be a stellar reader to begin with. As long as there is consistency, then fluency can be built upon. Read WITH your child. Here’s just a few ways to do that:
- Check out the audio book along with the print copy.
- Read the book, and then watch the movie together.
- Read the book, then visit a place mentioned or imagine what that place might look like together.
Set a Summer Reading Example
If they see YOU read for pleasure, kids are much more likely to do the same. I was that kid for sure. With the very young, put a book in a toy box, so they’re seen as an explorative activity, too. That way, books aren’t off-limits objects. Board books WILL go into mouths: that’s how babies learn about the world. Wipe off drool and talk about the pictures with your baby. You might feel crazy but your baby will love it.
The bottom line is: just read! These stories and experiences touch your lives and your hearts and make memories. Can you recall favorite childhood tales? Children’s and Young Adult literature has experienced nothing short of a renaissance, and there are wonderful stories out there! Seriously!
The GREAT News?
Your local library is your Summer Slide Battle Buddy. Our Summer Reading Club helps kids track time spent reading in a fun and easy way with a simple reading log. For every two hours spent reading, they can bring their reading log into their local branch and get it stamped.
At the end of the summer, your book log will be completely filled out, and many hours will have been spent with some awesome books. At the Library, we don’t stress about reading levels, or AR points or any of that. We want to find that perfect book for your child to spark their imagination and love for learning. Everything else follows naturally. Reading logs can be turned into any branch of the Huntsville-Madison County Public Library for a Summer Reading prize drawing blowout! It’s a cool way to celebrate reading accomplishments for all participants at all reading levels and abilities.
Most locations also host a party to celebrate Summer Reading in July. Check out hmcpl.org or your local branch for more information. You can also see the weekly schedule of Summer Reading events here.
Ask a Librarian
Your local librarians are your best resources for finding the next great book to read, listen to or download. Don’t be shy! These awesome women & men have dedicated their lives to pairing the right book with the right kid. Take advantage of their knowledge.
Got a question or want to share a reading tip that worked for your family? Leave a comment below!
Summer Reading Club at a Glance
When: June 4 – July 21, 2018
Who: Ages 0-11 | Ages 12-17 | 18 and up
Step 1: Visit a library branch near you
Step 2: Pick up a Book Tracker log (or do yours online!).
Step 3: Read books and record them in your tracker
Step 4: Turn in Trackers to the library & you’re eligible to win cool prizes!
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Mandy Pinyan is a passionate book love from an early age, where being busted for bringing Stephen King to school (a book, not the guy) led to much reading by flashlight. She turned out okay. She is the Youth Services Coordinator and Manager of Outreach Services at the Huntsville Madison County Public Library Extension and Outreach Department, where she can be seen driving a Rainbow Van or a Bookmobile in between gigs. Mom to a precocious elementary student, Adelyn and wife to a ruggedly handsome outdoorsman with an obsession with planting bamboo, Mandy finds enjoyment in painting, gardening and geeking out over various pop culture. A small menagerie pf pets- dachshunds Matt Damon and Angel, kitty BB and Boston-Chihuahua-chupacabra mix Bailey just make the chaos complete.